Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Staff and Desktop Application Update

Hey everyone!

First off, I would like to introduce our new website staff.  Please join me in welcoming Joshua, Peter and Sam. They've been apart of the site now for almost two weeks, and they are all doing a fantastic job.  Their main responsibilities lie in keeping the Statistics pages looking good, and there is quite a bit of work to do.  I never really thought the website would get to the point that I would be recruiting outside assistance, so they are working with me through some growing pains while I get all the proper tools setup.

I'm sure as the website grows and expands even more, their responsibilities will also grow.  I'm glad to have them as a members of the team! :) If you wish to learn more about the new additions to the team, you can find more info on the About page.

Secondly, I have some new information and screenshots for you on the ingame parser. I've spent the past couple weeks fine tuning the combat log parsing code, updating the ingame overlays and fleshing out the solo parsing system.  While there is still a little bit of work left to do, the vast majority of the solo parser is complete.

This first screenshot is the entire solo parser in action (the image is extremely large). I have a multiple monitor setup, so on the left side you will see the main application running. On the right side, the game is running and all ingame overlays are running also. (P.S. I use a Nostromo for keybindings).

This next image is a look at the options available on each ingame overlay.  Each ingame overlay will remember its own options, position on the monitor, and size of the window, so you will be able to setup the parser how you like it and then not have to worry about setting up the windows every time you run the application.

Window Scaling does what you would expect and scales the window down in size. This slider goes from 20% to 100%, with 100% being the default. (Note: I'm running 1920x1080 resolution to give you an idea of the size of the window)

One of the new options available is "Auto Dim". This feature will automatically dim the window after a certain period of inactivity, which you can set from 1 to 20 seconds.  This screenshot below shows the window mid-dim. The screenshot after shows the window in full dim... it's just barely visible. Mousing over the window or new activity will cause the window to come out of dim.

Each fight is saved in the solo parser, allowing you to go back and look at previous fight data. To accomplish this, there is a drop down box at the top of the solo fight that allows you to choose previous fights.  I haven't quite come up with the final solution to non-boss fights, as you can see below. As of this moment, any fight that appears in the "Boss" filter tab on the website will be listed by name in this dropdown. So, if I fought Kephess, instead of "Generic/Trash Fight" appearing, it would say "Kephess the Undying". The numbers in the brackets are the start and end times.

The parser gives you a few options with respect to your companion and they mirror the options available on the website. You can choose Player, Companion, or Player + Companion. The options do pretty much exactly what they describe.  It is also completely retroactive, so if you wanted to see how just your companion did for one fight, choose the fight and then choose "Companion" and only his/her stats will be displayed.

The "Detailed Stats Breakout" button does not do anything at this point, but my idea for this button is to create a new window that is not an ingame overlay designed for people with multiple-monitor setups.  You will be able to click this button and get a new window containing all the same information offered in the ingame overlays plus more.  I don't have the plans on this window finalized yet and am still kinda working through it, but I think it will turn out well.

I have plans to add a "Just the Stats" ingame overlay for those of you that don't care about bargraphs or numbers specific to the spells and just want to see the main stats like Damage, DPS, Heals, HPS, etc. This window will be modeled just the same as the other ingame overlays but will just be numbers.

And lastly, I want to work on adding more options to the ingame overlays that give you control over the information being displayed. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to present these options yet and how much control I will be able to provide, but I think the more the better. This will probably not be implemented until a later date.

So, what's next?  Well, I will spend the next couple weeks finishing up the solo parser, stabilizing the server code and begin drafting concepts and ideas for the group parser.  The more I do, the more I realize needs to be done.  It's coming along very nicely, but I still cannot offer a solid time frame of when the parser will be ready for release.

Thank you everyone that has emailed me and expressed interest in participating in the testing phase(s) of the parser. I hope to have more information available for everyone soon with respects to testing the solo portion of the parser. If you are interested and have not yet contacted me, feel free to email me at james@torparse.com.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Desktop Application Update

Hey all, I took a small break for the holidays but have gotten back to work on the desktop application.  It is coming along quite nicely.  I only have a couple new screenshots to show, as a lot of work was put into server code and group relay code.

I've completed all non-combat aspects of the group function and it does everything you would expect a group in an MMO to do.  You can invite people, promote leaders, assistants, and kick people.  I've completed the friend's list and split it up into two tabs for online and offline friends. I've added a status bar at the bottom of the application that will display internet usage and notification information.  I've added the ability for the application to check for updates and update itself.

And I've started working on building the solo parser portion of the application.  My next project will be to completely finish the solo portion of the application.  After this is done, I will have to do a little bit of server coding, and then I will be ready for some early testing of the solo parser.  At that time, I will contact those who have emailed me and expressed interest in testing the application.  This portion of the project will be a huge undertaking, so it may still be some time before it is ready for testing.

If you are interested in testing, feel free to contact me at james@torparse.com.

This screenshot is of the solo tab for the application:

This screenshot is of the group tab for the application:


Looking for a moderator or two

*Update* Recruitment is now closed. Thank you.

Hey everyone, I'm currently in search of a couple people to help me out with moderating the statistics pages. If you are interested in helping, please read the following, and then if you are still interested, keep reading :)

  • I cannot offer any compensation for your time. This is a 100% volunteer position.
  • You should be an active and devoted SWTOR player.
  • You should be able to devote at the very minimum 4 hours a week to the website.
  • You should be able to be easily reached via email or other means (and can expect the same from me).
  • Programming experience is a plus, but not required (PHP, JavaScript, AS3)

Ok, so if you feel that you meet the requirements, then please feel free to read on. 

At this moment in time, the job is very specific but there is nothing stopping it from opening up should the need or opportunity present itself.  The statistics pages are updated once a day, and often times spoofed logs or faulty encounters make it into the statistics pages and rankings that should not be there.  While I do my best to skim through the rankings, it is a lot of work for one person on top of everything else I am doing. The job would be to review the statistics pages to ensure no faulty encounters are present, and if they are, flag them for removal.  I have programmed tools that make this job a lot easier, and your account would be given access to them to help you with this task.

If you would like to apply, please email me at james@torparse.com. The application can be informal, and does not require any professional resume or template. With that said, please include the following:

  • A brief description of your SWTOR history (server, character, when you started, etc)
  • One thing you would like to see changed on TORParse.com
  • Your account name on TORParse.com (just the name, *not* the password)
  • If you have any previous experience doing things like this (it is okay if you don't)
  • Any programming experience? (it is okay if you don't)

I will do my best to reply to all applications in a timely fashion. Thank you!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Small Update to Analytical View

Hey everyone, today I have pushed an update live that I have been working on for a little bit now. I have added the ability to view your Analytical breakdown in two new ways, they are labeled on a new bar above the existing breakdowns. They are pretty self-explanatory what they do. "Player" is the default setting and will only show information related to the main character of the log (this is what existed up until this point). "Companion" allows you to see only the companion information, if there is any available. And "Player + Companion" adds your companion stats together with your own stats.  It's been a requested feature for quite some time and I'm glad to finally have it done! Enjoy :)

Also, I have fixed a pretty significant bug on the Heals Taken and Damage Taken pages that was causing the "by Source" breakdown to lump everything together and list the source as the main character of the log. These areas will now correctly break out the information into the source of the damage/heal.

And last but not least, I have added the ability to direct link all the way down to a specific tab in the Analytical View.  The "Link to Current Fight" link on the top of the pages now reflects this addition.  This does not yet work for Group logs but I hope to add it soon.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Upcoming Log Limit Enforcement

When I say limit, I am referring to time limit, there will be no number limit on the amount of logs you can upload. This is just a friendly warning that I will soon be enforcing the log limit policy that I outlined in my Welcome Back post back in July. The size of the database is getting to the point where if I don't begin to enforce this policy, it will cause degradation to the quality of service provided.  This is the way it will work:

  • Any logs that contain boss fights will be moved to an inactive archive database. They will be inaccessible at this time and will be used only for overall stats on the statistics pages. I may allow limited access to them at a later date.
  • Any logs that are ranked will not be removed. This includes archived rankings which can go back up to 60 days.
  • If you are a member of the site, your logs will stay on the website for a maximum of 180 days since its last viewing unless it contains boss fights. This means, if you upload your combat log, look at it once, and then never look at it again for 180 days, it will be deleted on the 181st day. If you look at your combat log on day 179, it resets this counter.
  • If you are uploading a combat log to the website as an anonymous user, your logs will stay on the website for a maximum of 60 days since its last viewing unless it contains boss fights. Same rules as above apply.

This policy will ensure the website can continue to function quickly and efficiently as well as reducing costs.  The numbers above are not set in stone and may change from time to time, but I will attempt to be as transparent as I can about the process.

As an FYI, I ran a test of this system to see what the results looked like.  As a result of running this system for the very first time, the following numbers were observed:

  • Anonymous logs to be deleted: 23176
  • Member logs to be deleted: 296

By the numbers above, you can see that very few member logs will be affected by this new policy relative to the total number of logs in the database (there are a lot). There are quite a few anonymous logs that will be deleted upon activation of this new policy. A large majority of both numbers will be moved into the inactive archive database vice being permanently deleted.

I will turn this system on in approximately one week to give everyone ample time to make sure none of your important, can't-be-deleted logs fall into the deletion state. I will need to bring the site down for approximately four hours to run this system for the first time as well as conduct database maintenance after it has completed. This maintenance is currently scheduled for Monday, 14 Jan 2013 4AM PT/7AM ET/1PM CET/9PM AET.

After I have run the system for the first time, it will be setup to run automatically every few days. The site will only need to be brought down for the first run, and subsequent runs will be transparent to the user.


P.S. I should have a new desktop application update ready by this weekend. I took a little time off for the holidays, but have quite a bit of new work to show everyone!

TL;DR: New log time limit policy: 180 days since last view for members; 60 days for anonymous; boss fight logs will be moved to inactive database, not accessible, only used for overall statistics numbers; ranked logs will not be removed. Scheduled maintenance: Monday, 14 Jan 2013 4AM PT/7AM ET/1PM CET/9PM AET. Maintenance length approx 4 hours.